Stuart Chaifetz is the father of a 10-year-old boy who’s been diagnosed with autism. His son, Akian, was repeatedly sent home from school with notes from teachers complaining of violent outbursts. Chaifetz became suspicious because the behavior described in the notes didn't match up with the son he knew, and so one day he sent Akian to school wired with a recording device. He says the recording proves his child was being bullied and abused by staff members.
AC360 has picked up this story because we take bullying very seriously, and the thought of a special-needs teacher bullying a student is clearly disturbing. And there are some difficult moments picked up on the tape. For example, at one point an unidentified adult female, caught on tape, says to Akian, "You are a bastard."
Stuart Chaifetz brought the recording to the attention of the school board in his town, Cherry Hill, New Jersey. As a result, administrators fired one of the two aides who were overheard on the recordings. The other aide, along with teacher Kelly Altenburg, were transferred.
The school district first responded to the events that took place with this statement: "I want to assure our parents that the individuals who are heard on the recording raising their voices and inappropriately addressing children no longer work in the district and have not since shortly after we received the copy of the recording." And today, they released another statement, after Altenburg's mere transfer seemed by some to equate with an exoneration: "While we cannot legally comment specifically on personnel matters, the District does not consider the matter closed at this time as the investigation remains on-going."
To respond to all of this, Stuart Chaifetz joined Anderson on the show tonight. Also, an expert on these matters– Arevea Martin, a disability rights attorney and children's advocate.
After sending his 10-year-old autistic son to school wearing a 'wire,' a New Jersey father is outraged by what is recorded.
Keeping Them Honest, Anderson reports on contradictions behind Vice President Biden's criticism of Gov. Romney's foreign policy experience.
Anderson talks with lawyers Mark Geragos and Sunny Hostin about George Zimmerman's previously unknown finances.
John Edwards' legal team attacks former aide Andrew Young in an attempt to discredit the prosecution's star witness.
This month wild bears have been spotted in the most unusual places, such as a live, nightly newscast.. and the RidicuList.
George Zimmerman's lawyer tells Anderson Cooper that his client raised more than $200,000 through his website.
Reporter's Note: I write to the White House each day. Then I go home to my house and wait for a reply. I’m still waiting.
Dear Mr. President,
So now the Republicans are after you for allegedly using Air Force One and taxpayer money to take campaign trips without properly reimbursing the government. I must say I am neither surprised at the allegation, nor would I be surprised to find it true. Don’t worry. I’m not taking a slap at you. It would not surprise me for any president.
I’ve long thought that one of the problems of incumbency, is that office holders of all stripes seem to be constantly seeking re-election; raising money, making speeches, kissing babies, and much more all while supposedly “on the job.” Accordingly, I think the potential for mistakes, miscommunications, and miscalculations is huge. So is the potential for abuse.
Imagine that I’m a governor. And yes, yes, I realize you’d never want to live in any state that would elect me, but still imagine that I held that post. One day I decide to go visit a vegetable market because my state’s farmers could use a little of that gubernatorial magic to spur interest in their tomatoes, potatoes, and ears of corn. Along the way, my campaign folks say, “You know, Governor Tom, when you are talking about the beet crop, you might want to mention how your opponent in this fall’s election hates beets.”
“Good idea,” I say.
“And, since you’re mentioning it, maybe we can get one or two of the TV stations to interview you on the subject.”
“And just to make sure we help ourselves…uh, I mean the farmers…with as much publicity as possible, why don’t I call some of our friends and make sure they assemble a crowd of some five hundred people. Would you object to those folks being farmers’ wives? You know that’s a demographic we’re a little weak on…”
And Bob’s your uncle, suddenly even my well-intentioned little tiptoe through the lettuce leaves is looking a whole lot like a campaign stop…even though I’m still using the state limo, state security, state staff members, and those “Better Health Through Farming” pamphlets I’m handing out with my smiling face on the back were printed on state machinery using state computers.
Frankly all of this is why I think incumbents, especially presidents, actually should not campaign at all. I know it sounds crazy, but in the early days of our country that’s how it worked. All sorts of proxies could raise money and make stump speeches, but the candidate’s work in office was supposed to speak for him. No accusations of using the state buggy improperly there!
Anyway, good luck with your travels…wherever they go and whoever is paying. Ha!
George Zimmerman's lawyer, Mark O'Mara, tells Anderson Cooper exclusively that his client raised more than $200,000 through his website. This contradicts previous statements Zimmerman and O'Mara have made about his finances. There's a discrepancy between what was stated during Zimmerman's bond hearing and the new information about donations.
Initially, O'Mara said he was told that the website created by Zimmerman with a Paypal account for donations had received around 700 to a few thousand dollars. The attorney found out about the $200,000 when he was in the process of trying to "shut down" Zimmerman's internet presence.
What everyone’s talking about:
Mitt Romney won all five Republican primaries on Tuesday in Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. He has transitioned his campaign’s focus from the nomination to the general election against President Obama. Yet it seems the former Massachusetts Governor still needs to explain his stance on key policy issues, like illegal immigration – We’re Keeping Them Honest. CNN’s Gary Tuchman went to Mexico to meet Romney’s relatives who still live in the area where the candidate’s father was born. Some of his cousins gave their take on the border fence, talked about their family history and their desire to one day meet their famous cousin. Anderson spoke with Montana’s Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer who defended his controversial remarks that tied Mitt Romney’s family to the practice of polygamy. Schweitzer said that he was trying to reference Romney’s struggles to connect with Latino voters.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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